SHILLONG, Aug 9: Meghalaya Governor V Shanmugathan today iugurated the brain storming session on “Act East and India’s North-East: How to Reap the Dividend” organized by the ASEAN Study Centre (ASC) and Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) – North East Regiol Centre (NERC) at NEHU here. In his iugural address, the Governor said that the northeastern region have a huge role to play in India’s “Act East” policy given its geographic proximity to the South East Asian region and can also serve as the cultural bridge between India and Southeast Asia. Stating that the historical trade links between the North eastern part of India and the Southeast Asian countries were severed during the colonial rule, and the revival of connectivity and trade will enhance India-ASEAN trade, the Governor said that border trade between India, through the north-eastern states, and ASEAN will have huge potential for trade and investment in the field of skill development, agricultural products, manufacturing and energy among others. He also stressed on the importance of road-transport connectivity between Northeastern regions and the ASEAN countries thereby strengthening people to people contacts in the region. Later, the Governor released the book titled “Constraints & Challenges to Social Science Research in North East India” edited by Prof. L. S. Gassah and Dr. C. J. Thomas. The iugural programme was followed by a series of discussions on topics mely; India –ASEAN Relations: Economic engagements, Social and Cultural Engagements and Political and Strategic Engagements.